Hunters face ban on import of trophy kills... but campaigners warn the law must not be open to abuse

 Hunters are set to face a total ban on bringing trophy kills back to Britain, it was confirmed last night.

Ministers will this week announce the move as figures show more than 300 carcasses of endangered species have been shipped to the UK since 2019.

But they face warnings from campaigners and celebrities that the policy must not allow hunters to 'carry on with business as usual'.

It comes two years after the Tories pledged to ban imports of trophy kills. Writing in today's Daily Mail, Lord Ashcroft, who has long rallied to end the abuse of wildlife, said: 'With environmental matters of all kinds now sitting at the top of the Government's agenda, the time has come for it to address animal cruelty.'

Graeme and Greig Blundell, a father and son from Kinross, Scotland, are pictured with a zebra

Graeme and Greig Blundell, a father and son from Kinross, Scotland, are pictured with a zebra

Meanwhile, Dame Judi Dench, a supporter of the campaign to ban trophy hunting, said: 'Having raised expectations, the Government now has to deliver. It is a policy that has a lot of support.'

Boris Johnson has previously called the imports a 'disgusting trade'. His father Stanley Johnson has campaigned in favour of the ban.A Government source said that this week the next steps will be outlined regarding the move and they will be 'comprehensive, robust and effective, delivering the promised change to help protect thousands of species'.

Claire Thomas, UK executive director of campaign group Humane International, said: 'The Government has been promising this ban since 2019 and has been dragging its heels a bit but they've taken their time to hopefully get the deal right. And hopefully it isn't a ban full of loopholes that will allow the hunters to carry on with business as usual.'

To apply pressure on MPs to enforce the move, the group Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting will release a book shaming 75 Britons, some of whom boast of killing hundreds of animals.

Their names were found on the website of Umlilo Safaris, a South African company that provides more than 50 species to slaughter. It charges £9,175 for a 'combo package' to kill a lion and lioness.

Eduardo Goncalves, founder of Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting, said: 'We want to know what the Government intends in terms of enforcement and punitive measures. It's our view that lawbreakers receive a jail sentence.'

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